Higher education comprises higher professional education (HBO) and university education (WO). These types of education are provided by HBO institutions (hogescholen) and universities respectively.
Bachelor's and master's degrees
All HBO and university courses fall under the bachelor-master system. Bachelor's degree programmes are broader, while master's degree programmes lead to specialisation in a chosen field. HBO bachelor's degree programmes take four years, university bachelor's programmes three. A master's degree programme takes up to two years, while master's programmes in engineering can last longer.
Higher professional education (HBO)
The 43 HBO institutions, or universities of higher professional education, together offer 200 programmes in a wide range of disciplines. They provide theoretical and practical training for occupations for which a higher vocational qualification is either required or useful. Graduates find employment in various fields, including middle and high-ranking jobs in trade and industry, social services, health care and the public sector.
Universities combine academic research and teaching. University education focuses on training in academic disciplines, the independent pursuit of scholarship and the application of scholarly knowledge in the context of a profession and aims to improve understanding of the phenomena studied in the various disciplines and generate new knowledge.
The Netherlands has 13 universities, including three universities of technology. Wageningen University is financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation because of its agricultural roots.